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October 07, 2005


Thank you for doing so much heavy lifting on this story...

Here's something I thought about when I read yesterday's installment, and now jumps back out at me. It doesn't change the story line to date, but might be of importance in anticipating the outcomes we might see in the trial phase, if any:

Fitzgerald does not now know whether the "I learned it from a journalist" ruse has any basis in truth or not. He knows that there is more than one version of that story, but the basis in truth that those varying stories have is for a jury to decide.

While it's certainly true that juries tend to look askance at stories that are contradicted by multiple sources, it's a mistake to be conclusory about what is "known" from these contradictions. And should it come to trial, assuming that the established facts remain static from here on in, you will notice that Fitzgerald will be forced in his opening statements to say nothing more than that Rove will tell a story that will be contradicted by multiple witnesses. Anything more would be conclusory and objectionable as an opening.

Similarly, if Miller testified that she learned of Plame's identity from Libby, that doesn't necessarily establish that Rove's claim that he learned of Plame's identity from a journalist is false. It is evidence that there are remaining questions about Miller's veracity as well as Rove's. Which one is lying is also a finding for the jury. They may well conclude that it's Rove who's lying, but then again, there's good reason to believe they won't place a great deal of faith in Miller's testimony, either. After all, just like in all the cop shows, they'll learn that Miller cut a deal to get out of jail in exchange for her testimony.

Luckily, there are other witnesses who can also contradict Rove. But even though this is all just opinion and speculation -- something you've been more than clear about -- you might as well take advantage of the hedge that this is all persuasive evidence, but not necessarily proof. It might just save you a lot of headache later on, looking ahead to the trial phase, if there is one, in case the jury should somehow conclude that it's all the other witnesses who are lying, and not Rove.

Yes, thank you very much. I don't have anything of substance to contribute, but I'm reading every word of your posts with intense interest.

A random question; does a grand jury have to report every day? I assume Fitzgerald has needed to present evidence to them on relatively few of the days in the 18 months they've been impanelled. Are they allowed to go about their business for most of the time?

Also, if Fitzgerald gets an extension, will the same people serve for another 6 months?

And if there are indictments, will there be regular jury trials?

I think it highly possible that Hadley is a source regarding Plame's identity, and may well have been the source for both Libby and Rove.

Hadley was in the initial March Meeting where the Wilson Workup was initiated according to Wilson's book. Apparently he was at that meeting representing Condi, his then boss. I think we can assume Hadley would have both contributed information to the pot being assembled as part of the workup, and he would have had general access to the fruit of other's work.

There are also reasons to believe Hadley independently knew Valerie Wilson. He was the NSC Deputy responsible for WMD matters, and frequently was briefed by CIA officers -- and apparently there are several occassions when Valerie Plame Wilson went to the EOP with other officers working WMD to brief NSC staff. In this context, Hadley could well have known her.

The critical matter really is who took the basic information -- that Valerie was CIA and worked on WMD -- and reworked the story to one where the subject was nepotism, and that she had organized Joe Wilson's Niger trip? I suspect Hadley had the knowledge to do that, and his participation in the original work-up group given its motivations, would point to him as involved with changing the subject of the basic information. From what we know of Rove and Libby's statements to reporters, it seems clear they spouted the Nepotism story, and may not have known much about the way in which it was constructed. I rather suspect Hadley of being responsible for the construction -- as we know he was also probably responsible for keeping the 16 words in the SOTU, and possibly for the construction that the British were the source for the Niger Intelligence, avoiding the CIA doubts about the truth of the matter.

And since Condi was Hadley's boss at the time of these events -- we would also need to inquire into how she supervised his work. Were these misleading constructions done with her knowledge? Did she follow the progress of the "work-up" group? If so, what did she tell the President? I have a sense that information about a planned and ongoing conspiracy would not be covered by Executive Privilege.

Sara, I agree Hadley may be an important source. Don't forget David Shedd worked with Hadley at NSC, as likely a personal source of Plame's identity (and name) as Fleitz.

But I think the nepotism story almost certainly came to these guys honestly, by mistake. That is, simply because of what seems like an off-hand comment on the part of the INR analyst whose notes were used for the INR memo, that connection was made for them (perhaps with a little help from Bolton and Fleitz).

I agree that Hadley may be one of the key pivots. And let's not forget David Wurmser:

John Bolton was the neocons man at the State Dept - Arms Control, his senior aide was David Wurmser. Wurmser came from American Enterprise Institute, stopped at the Pentagon where he worked in the Office of Special Plans shop, and then moved to State. Wurmser is classic neocon in the truest sense of the word, and Bolton had made a point of putting his nose into INR, to the point that his assigned intel officer, Greg Thielmann was told he was no longer welcome at the staff meetings.

The investigation into the leak was officially announced in late September 2003, but it had been hinted in the press in early August that the CIA would ask for a formal probe.

David Wurmser moved to Cheney's office in September. He works under Lewis Libby as Cheney's ME expert.

That comes from the "timeline" narrative at My Little Sky. The timing certainly suggests that Wurmser might well have been taken into the VP's office to get a little executive privilege cover.

Which rasies a new question in my mind -- Does Bolton enjoy any type of heightened ambassadorial privileges now?

I suspect Hadley was either Novak's first source (no partisan gunslinger) or the source for Pincus on July 12 whose info on Wilson's trip and Plame Pincus did not publish, not believing it true, but about whom he's written on several later occasions. Or maybe Hadley is the source for both.

Also, I have a suspicion that one dimension of this story we have not, to my knowledge, heard much about is that there was some confusion in the Bush administration between Wilson's 2002 trip to Niger and his 1999 trip. I don't have the time to track down all the relevant stuff at the moment, but I suspect this confusion is behind some of the patently confused things Ari Fleischer was saying during press gaggles or press conferences in Africa in July 2003, and therefore explains why Fitzgerald was interested in transcripts from those events. The reason this matters, of course, is because it is pretty suggestive that there was in fact some kind of work-up on and coordinated response to Wilson undertaken. It just wasn't done very well. It would also presumably build a stronger case concerning the release of classified information. There are a couple of bits about this evident confusion in Wilson's book too.

Waas has a new article up, via warandpiece:


New notes from Miller, via Talkingpointsmemo. I'm posting these links here as they've been popular topics, my comments about them probably wouldn't be too enlightening. I am impressed with everyone's precience:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Times reporter Judith Miller discovered notes from an earlier conversation she had with Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff and turned them over the prosecutor investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity, legal sources said on Friday.

Miller's notes about a June 2003 conversation with Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, could be important to prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case by establishing exactly when Libby and other administration officials first started talking to reporters about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her diplomat husband, Joseph Wilson.

Am I correct . . .if Rove sent Hadley an email about his conversation with Cooper, erased it from his computer to cover his tracks, but had no way to know if Hadley would do the same,it would explain why he thought he might get away with lying to Fitz. He also may have erased it before the investigation and forgot about sending it to Hadley. My presumption has always been that the lower level guys wouldn't take a hit for Karl and lie to Fitz.

And if Rove did pull that little move with his email to Hadley, it very well may get him an indictment for obstruction of justice and spoliation of evidence. Stressful days for Turd-Blossom...

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